A lot of the office 365 subscriptions include PowerBI which is a web based business intelligence portal. This enables you to create dashboards using data from your back end CRM or ERP application combined with other data sets you have around your business. These can be on premise or cloud based sources and in a multitude of formats.
Even more interestingly it can access external sources to for instance combine commodity prices, weather reports or exchange rates with your data to show cause and effect and forecast future demand or costs for example.
In the future we will see PowerBI graphs and charts displayed within your Dynamics application itself without the need to go to a separate portal. This has already been previewed in the next version of AX and is undoubtedly on the roadmap for NAV and CRM. Building links to your data sources and then views of that data will have a great return on the investment, which is minimal if anything, more of your time to define what you want.
For now though you can see those reports via the web portal or the apps on your tablet or phone. Once the data is wired up you can design the dashboards using Excel, it’s really a straightforward end user point and click experience.
What is revolutionary is the natural language queries that you can do in PowerBI. By typing or even saying using the built in Cortana integration “show me all the customers in London with a balance overdue” will set the correct filters and display just that list. As a tool to for end users to get the queries that want quickly and effectively it’s unparalleled.
So what’s not to like, reporting is one of the biggest complaints against business systems, this is the tool in 365 that can solve those issues once and for all.
Office 365 gives every organisation an easy way to deploy SharePoint. It’s an application that’s been around for a while but many organisations have not picked it up. That’s probably because it’s a toolbox that needs some setting up before it can be used effectively, once it’s going though it will become key very quickly.
This post is part of a 5-part series. A link to rest of the posts in this series are below;